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Jane's Naval History of World War II

Author: Bernard Ireland

Hardcover - 256 pages (November 1998) Harpercollins;
ISBN: 0004721438
Dimensions (in inches): 0.98 x 11.33 x 8.89

Table of Contents:

Ch. 1. The War against Commerce
Ch. 2. The War against the U-boat
Ch. 3. The American Submarine War against Japan
Ch. 4. Amphibious Warfare
Ch. 5. Aviation at Sea
Ch. 6. Last Days of the Battleship

Illustrated with lavish paintings and hundreds of photographs, this unique military reference brings alive the variety and history of each of the warships that took part in the greatest conflict in naval history. 400 photos & color illustrations. Syndicated radio feature.

Naval warfare played a decisive role in deciding World War II. In this new study, naval historian Bernard Ireland reveals the critical elements that determined the war at sea.


This is a good introduction to naval combat as it was executed in World War II. The photography and diagrams provide interesting views of ships and tactics to those just learning about combat at sea as well as those who have been looking with interest at naval warfare for years. Although this is not an in-depth analysis or presentation of naval history, it does in my opinion delve into areas that are not in the mainstream of typical historical overviews, for which I am personally grateful.

For a coffee table type book used for casual browsing and conversation, it is a fine addition to anyone's library. It does, however, lack the content needed to give each aspect of combat at sea a more complete picture. For example, the evolution of emphasis from capital ships to naval aviation throughout the navies of the world is incomplete if not absent altogether. Indeed, although a good deal of effort was taken in each of the six areas covered by the author, and although a great deal of excellent information was conveyed through the photography and accompanying narratives, I felt as though I needed more to get the quality view I desired when I finished with the book. And that desire for the quality view is what prompted purchase of this book in the first place. If the author had decided to double the amount of time spent on each chapter providing a more in depth presentation, I would still have made the purchase.

I will also admit to observing some weakness in the editorial review process in producing the book. I am however, prepared to accept the fact that differences exist between the Kings English and that used on this side of the Atlantic. The fact there was no section at the end providing conclusions to the findings presented in the book itself caused a rather abrupt ending. I was a bit disappointed to discover that at the end of the last chapter I turned the page only to find myself in the Index rather than in an Afterword that would have assisted me in achieving closure with the author in what otherwise could have been a great book.

Books of this calibre are an excellent means by which our history can be presented to the generations that followed the participants, and that are benefiting from the call to arms answered by a generation that came out the era of "The War to End All Wars" and was forged by the years of the Great Depression. Jane's is to be commended for the production of this book describing naval combat in World War II.

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